Founded in 1832 by Auguste Agassiz, the company that would become Longines really came into its own in 1860 when Agassiz’s nephew, Ernest Francillon, took the watch maker’s reigns. Under Francillon, the company moved to a site called Les Longines on the river Suze in 1867, trademarked the name Longines in 1880, and registered the famous winged-hourglass logo in 1889.
Of course, Francillon did more than see to the company’s marketing needs. He also oversaw technological innovations that would make Longines one of the world’s most respected watch makers. One of his first decisions was to introduce anchor escapements into Longines timepieces. Then, in 1888, he presided over Longines’s first certified chronometer.
By 1909, Longines had enough experience with small-caliber movements that it could devote more of its attention to the jewelry watches and wristwatches that would make it famous. Two years later, it introduced a barrel-shaped wristwatch that is considered the precursor of the Longines Evidenza line, which flourished in the 1920s.
As it turns out, the winged-hourglass was a prescient symbol for a company that created numerous timepieces for pilots. In 1919, Longines became the official supplier to the International Aeronautical Federation; in 1925, a Longines accompanied aviator Antonio Locatelli on a flight to the North Pole region; and in 1926, Walter Mittelholzer wore a Longines when he flew from Switzerland to Iran.
But the association really took off, if you will, in 1927, when Charles Lindbergh made his solo flight across the Atlantic. A Longines measurement device at Roosevelt Field in Long Island marked the moment he took off; a similar Longines timepiece at Le Bourget Airfield in Paris where he landed recorded the time of the flight: 33 hours, 30 minutes, 29.8 seconds.
While in the air, Lindbergh had a lot of time to think about a lot of things, including the perfect watch, which he eventually designed for Longines. His Longines Lindbergh Hour Angle, introduced in 1932, used high-frequency quartz regulators to aid in the navigation of transatlantic flights by showing both Greenwich Mean Time and the corresponding hour angle. Needless to say, a Lindbergh Hour Angle from the 1930s is one of the most collectible antique Longines wristwatches available today.
The introduction of a wrist chronograph in 1936 allowed the aviation connection to continue in 1938, when Howard Hughes broke the speed record for a flight around the world. By t...
Calendars, water-resistance, and self-winding mechanisms were added as features to Longines watches during the 1940s. Gold and diamonds became more common as post-war prosperity allowed Longines to go after the luxury market.
And then, in 1954, Longines introduced one of its most enduring sports-lifestyle brands, the Conquest. The handsome Flagship followed in 1957. A vintage Conquest or Flagship from the 1950s is as prized by collectors today as it was by customers in the mid-20th century. Another collectible wristwatch to look from the late 1950s is the Jamboree.
Key terms for Antique and Vintage Longines Wristwatches:
Chronograph: A watch that also records time intervals, like a stopwatch.
Chronometer: A watch that has been certified by the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute not to lose more than four seconds per day, nor to gain more than six.
Escapement: A device that converts the pressure of a spring or coil into a fixed release of movement.
Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)
National Watch and Clock Museum
Clubs & Associations
Other Great Reference Sites
Most watched eBay auctions
Recent News: Longines Wristwatches
Source: Google News
Longines Presents the Emir's Trophy at 23rd International Equestrian Sword ...Haute Living, March 14th
Dubday, the first thoroughbred to carry the new Al Shaqab Racing silks of grey with gold braid, won the H.H. The Emir's Trophy presented by Longines, a Group 1 race for thoroughbred. He was mounted by jockey Frankie Dettori. For the second highlight...Read more
Commonwealth Games Glasgow 2014World Tempus (press release), March 10th
Michael then joined Glasgow 2014 Chairman Lord Smith of Kelvin, Charles Villoz, Vice President of Longines, Glasgow 2014's Official Timekeeper and Watch and Games Partners to formally switch on the Longines Glasgow 2014 Clock at the city's Central ...Read more
The Conquest Classic at the Longines Hong Kong Masters 2014World Tempus (press release), February 27th
Like all the models in the Conquest Classic line, the official watch for the 2014 Longines Hong Kong Masters is fitted with a self-winding calibre. With a diameter of 40 mm, this model in steel and rose gold houses the mechanical caliber L619. Its...Read more
Longines Hong Kong Masters Comes to a CloseASIATravelTips.com, February 23rd
The second edition of the Longines Hong Kong Masters (LHKM), a five-star accredited international equestrian show jumping event, came to a close on Sunday after an three days of competitions. With more than 30,000 visits over the weekend at ...Read more
Column-Wheel Single Push-Piece ChronographWorld Tempus, February 23rd
As part of the Longines Heritage Collection, the new Longines Column-Wheel Single Push-Piece Chronograph models recall the very first chronograph wristwatches created by the brand in 1933. End of January, WorldTempus presented one of the three new ...Read more
Hong Kong Saddles Up for Show JumpingWall Street Journal (blog), February 20th
Some 30 riders will be taking part, including Hong Kong's Kenneth Cheng, who is 578th in the world rankings. This will be the third time the 25-year-old has competed in a top-level event in Hong Kong, following the 2008 Olympics and the inaugural...Read more
New PartnershipWorld Tempus, February 17th
Under the terms of this new agreement, Longines will be the official partner and watch for the FEGENTRI. Moreover, Longines will lend its name to the World Championships for male and female riders and to the corresponding rankings – the Longines World ...Read more
Longines DolceVitaHuffington Post, February 17th
Wherever Gloria goes she causes rioting by horny Italian men and if you follow Longines DolceVita campaign (in which Kate Winslet appears, along with Bollywood's Aiswarya Rai) her persona is attracting a gaggle of paparazzi too. Yes it's actually...Read more